For more than 37 years of the CEOM’s existence in Québec the osteopaths have worked in collaboration with physicians and other medical professionals.
Then, in the Winter of 2017, le Collège des médecins du Québec (CMQ), the College of Physicians of Québec, decided to sue, for the unlawful practice of medicine, three osteopathic students and two professors of the Collège d’Études Ostéopathiques de Montréal (CEOM) and filed a closure order against the CEOM’s outpatient clinic.
The osteopaths and students who are being sued were randomly chosen to be made an example of and they risk losing their right of practice. The fines against them have reached a total of $ 372,500.
This attack according to statements made by Dr Charles Bernard, the new president of the Collège des médecins, on the television show, La Facture is to target the CEOM which is the oldest and most visible osteopathic school in Quebec. The CEOM has been made the scapegoat in this attack against Osteopathy:
« Of course we cannot go after all osteopaths, but those who are being sued, who are punished, at least, they make the headlines and it awakens a little awareness in the public. » Charles Bernard
This attack by Collège des médecins came at the time when the osteopaths are discussing their field competency and the Government of Québec and the Office des professions du Québec are actively engaged in the process of recognition of the osteopathic profession.
This process started several years ago, in collaboration with the College of physicians and other relevant bodies should soon lead to a promulgation of a ministerial decree. Parliamentary debates are already under way which will result in a vote in the National Assembly.
Until a professional order is achieved all osteopaths are at risk of being prosecuted for the “illegal practice of medicine ” by the Collège des médecins or other professional bodies who are also protecting their field of practice.
Presently, the outpatient clinic remains open and this is thanks to the legal work done in the past year by lawyers of three legal firms retained by the CEOM. This allows the students to study and supervisors to teach.
All this leads to very high legal fees which are currently fully borne by the CEOM. The cost of a lawyer is $ 350 per hour.
This attack affects all of us: osteopaths in their practice, teachers and assistants, students and, also, patients. In case of defeat in a possible trial, this could lead to the prosecution of several osteopaths for illegal practice. If the CEO is successful, osteopaths will benefit from unhindered practice. In fact, Osteopathy will be strengthened in Quebec.
For all the above reasons and in solidarity with the colleagues who are being sued, the FCERO, the Canadian Foundation for the Teaching and Research in Osteopathy, has agreed to mandate a volunteer committee in order to organize the fundraising campaign with the funds collected to be used to defray the legal and related costs arising from the defense of this cause.
The goal is to raise $350,000 to $ 400,000 which it will manage and ensure the proper use, with full transparency.
The FCERO is a non-profit organization that may issue receipts for donations for income tax purposes and meet the objectives of its charter: the defence of what is most valuable in Osteopathy, teaching and transmission of know-how.
This campaign is aimed at all people of good will who support Osteopathy and its values. The FCERO asks for your sense of community and your generosity, for the defense of our profession and for the well-being of the population.